IB 105 - Announcements Sept 30, 2006
Naturalist Philosophers (mid 1800s) • Nature has intrinsic aesthetic and spiritual values • Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in 1836, “behind nature, throughout nature, spirit is present” • Henry David Thoreau published his classic, Walden, in1854, in which he recounts his life in the woods
Pragmatic Resource Conservation (Mid to late 1800s, early 1900s) • Preservation of nature for future consumption Man and Nature by George Perkins Marsh published 1864 • Marsh traveled widely and saw environmental damage elsewhere in the world • His book warned of the ecological consequences of the “conquest” of the frontier—resources are not endless • Natural forest reserves established in the US in 1873 to protect dwindling timer supplies
Pragmatic Resource Conservation • In 1905, then president Theodore Roosevelt appointed Gifford Pinchot as chief of the Forest Service • Pinchot argued for forest protection “not because they are beautiful or because they shelter wild creatures of the wilderness, but only to provide homes and jobs for people” • “…for the greatest good, for the greatest number for the longest time”
Moral and aesthetic nature preservation (Mid to late 1800s, early 1900s) • Preservation of nature for nature’s sake • Yellowstone National Park established in 1872 (National Park Service not established until 1916) • John Muir, early environmental activist strenuously opposed Pinchot’s policies
John Muir • “The world, we are told, was made for man. A presumption that is totally unsupported by the facts…” • Formed Sierra Club in 1892 (http://www.sierraclub.org/) • Fought for the establishment of Yosemite and King’s Canyon National Parks • Lobbied to create national park system (Formed in 1916, 2 years after his death)
Interest in environmental issues lagged behind more immediate issues during the early part of the 1900s By the mid 1900s, there was growing concern about heath and ecological damage caused by pollution
Aldo Leopold • Founded the field of game management • His most famous publication A Sand County Almanac was published in 1949, a year after his death • Chapter called “The Land Ethic” set the foundation for “modern” conservation
Rachael Carson • Published Silent Spring in 1962 • Warned about the consequences of pesticide use (DDT) • Book marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement
April 22th, 1970 – First Earth Day • 20 million people in 2,000 communities marched to demand improved environmental quality
Environmentalism in the 1970s: Clean Water Act Clean Air Act Safe Drinking Water Act Endangered Species Act Establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency
Environmentalism in the 1980s: • Backlash against the environmental movement • Increased resource use on public lands • Federal funding for energy conservation and renewable resources cut • Relaxed federal air and water quality standards
Late 1980s – “Wise-use” movement • Ron Arnold major proponent, wrote “The Wise-use Agenda” • Replace National Park Service with privately operated parks • Remove restrictions on wetland development • Cut all remaining old growth forests and replace with tree farms • Open all national parks, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, to off-road vehicles, commercial development, mining, and drilling for oil
At the same time (1980s), visible environmental problems pushed environmental issues to the forefront Exxon Valdez oil spill Hypodermic needles and other toxic waste washing up on beaches in NY and NJ
At the same time (1980s), visible environmental problems pushed environmental issues to the forefront Thinning ozone layer over Antarctica 1983 EPA and National Academy of Sciences Report warns of environmental problems associated with global warming
Global environmental citizenship - 1990s 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 172 Governments participated Focus on Climate Change and Biological Diversity • 1997 Kyoto Protocol • Nations pledged to reduce emissions • US signed but did not ratify the protocol - the accord's tough requirements would be too costly to the U.S. economy.
Global environmental citizenship 1990s to present • Clinton administration protected more land as national monuments in lower 48 states than did any other administration • Increase awareness by the general public regarding issues of biodiversity, invasive species, global change, etc. • UN names 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater
2000-present: Current Administration often comes under attack from Environmental Groups • Revisions to the Clean Air Act that allow increased pollution • Favors increased use of resources on Federal lands (e.g., “Healthy Forest” initiative) • VP Cheney: Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.
Points to know: • Name 5 disciplines that environmental science encompasses. • Know the major environmental concerns of the 6 major regions of North America. • How do environmental issues become a global concern? • For each person, classify their environmental view as “nature”, “conservation” or “consumption”: • Ron Arnold Ralph Waldo Emerson John Muir • Rachael Carson Aldo Leopold Gifford Pinchot • Dick Cheney George Perkins Marsh Henry David Thoreau • 5. Know the environmental issues (generally, and at least 2 specifically) that occurred in: • 1970’s 1980’s 1990’s 2000-present
Environmental Ethics Lecture Objectives: 1. Learn three theories of moral responsibility to the environment 2. Learn three prevailing environmental attitudes 3. Explore how individuals, governments and corporations approach environmental ethics
Ethics and Morals Ethics- Seeks to define fundamentally what is right and what is wrong, regardless of cultural differences. Morals - Reflect predominate feelings of a culture about ethical issues. Environmental ethics - Topic of applied ethics that examines the moral basis of environmental responsibility
Three primary theories of moral responsibility regarding the environment Anthropocentric: (Human centered) Responsibility derived from human interests • Only humans are morally significant Preservation for future consumption
Three primary theories of moral responsibility regarding the environment Biocentric: Life-centered rather than human centered • All life forms have a right to exist Animal Rights
Three primary theories of moral responsibility regarding the environment Ecocentric: Environment deserves direct moral consideration • The environment has an inherent value Advocated by Aldo Leopold
Ecocentric View “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise….We abuse land because we regard it as a community belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” - Aldo Leopold
Environmental Attitudes • Developmental Ethic • Preservation Ethic • Conservation Ethic
Developmental Ethic • Based on individualism. • Assumes humans are, and should be, masters of nature. • All resources exist solely for human benefit. • Reinforced by work ethic. • Humans should always be busy and create “progress.”
Preservation Ethic • Nature has intrinsic value apart from human appropriation. • Reasons range from aesthetic to scientific. • Animal Rights—all creatures have a right to live, regardless of social or economic costs. • Humans dependent on environment. • Preserve nature for future generations.
Conservation Ethic • Extends rational consideration to entire earth. • Works toward a balance between resource use and availability. • Stresses finding a balance between total development and absolute preservation. • Rapid, uncontrolled growth is self-defeating in the long run.
Corporate Environmental Ethics Corporations- legal entities designed to operate at a profit. When raw materials are processed, some waste is inevitable.
Many consider manufacturing waste unethical, while corporations may see it as one factor determining profitability.
The cost of controlling waste can be very important in determining a company’s profit margin.
28 August 2003 EPA softens rules to allow more emissionsIndustries say change will aid system upgrades
Profit margin determines expansion. More expansion leads to more production and more wastes.
Corporate Environmental Ethics Practicing an environmental ethic should not interfere with corporate responsibilities. It makes little sense to preserve the environment if preservation causes economic collapse Nor does it make sense to maintain industrial productivity at the cost of breathable air, clean water, wildlife, parks, and wilderness. Compromise is possible
Waste generation is directly correlated with per capita income, but few toxic waste sites are located in affluent suburbs. NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard
Individual Environmental Ethics Recognition of individual responsibility must lead to changes in individual behavior. Recent opinion polls indicate that Americans think environmental problems often have a quick technological fix. Many want a cleaner environment, but do not want to make the necessary lifestyle changes
Consumption Ecologist Paul Ehrlich argues the American lifestyle is driving the global ecosystem to the brink of collapse. If everyone on Earth consumed as much oil as the average American, the world’s known reserves would be gone in a decade
Consumption Economist Julian Simon argued human ingenuity, not resources, limits economic growth and lifestyles. Bet between Simon and Erhlich (1980): Erhlich – Consumption of resources would drive prices up Simon – Technology would replace any potential shortages and prices would fall
Result of bet between Simon and Erhlich (1990) Metal 1980 price 1990 price (1980 dollars) (1980 dollars) Copper (195.56 lbs.) $200 $163 Chrome (51.28 lbs.) $200 $120 Nickel (63.52 lbs.) $200 $193 Tin (229.1 lbs.) $200 $56 Tungsten (13.64 lbs.) $200 $86 Erhlich – prices fell because of lower demand Simon – prices fell because of new materials (e.g., plastics)
Global Environmental Ethics Ecological degradation in any nation inevitably impinges quality of life in others.
What is your ecological footprint? http://www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp For extra credit, print out your ecological footprint and bring it to class on Friday!